Professor Jem Bendell

notes from a strategist and educator on social and organisational change

Archive for June, 2008

Questions to Christians

Posted by jembendell on June 17, 2008

Over the years I have sometimes discussed religion, faith and spirituality with people at parties. I was asked to follow up with someone on this recently, and rather than providing explanations and references, in the first place I am writing down the questions I normally put to someone of faith. I pose these questions to explore with them the depth of their spiritual inquiry.

  • How can you be happy going to heaven knowing others have gone to hell?

  • Might your assumption or yearning for yourself to have an independent existence after death, worthy of being called or experienced as “you”, be a projection of ego consciousness, showing a fixation on your separate identity?

  • Given that you are not meant to worship material idols, why do you worship the bible, or sentences in it, when it is made of human invented things called “words” referring to human invented things called “concepts”

  • In a world of billions of people with their own histories cultures and belief systems, how can you believe you know the one right way, based on divine revelation to one group of people at one moment in time, without being racist or accepting that your God is racist?

  • Given that archaeological evidence from the past 100 years have highlighted how key elements of the biblical story, such as a ‘virgin’ birth, the numbers of disciplines, and some key Jesus teachings, were actually popular myths prior to the supposed lifetime of Jesus, how can you not wish to explore the historical and cultural origins and inventions of your religion?

  • Given the role of the roman empire in influencing what was chosen to be in the bible or be excluded, around 300 AD, shouldn’t you explore not only what was left out of the bible but also what the interests of the romans were in challenging existing spiritualities across europe at that time?

  • Given that those pre Christian European spiritualities, like many other non-Abrahamic spiritualities around the world, did not see a separation between the natural and spiritual realms, might that separation have been functional to forms of organisation and control that enabled those societies using Christianity to conquer more peoples and lands?

  • What might have been lost to our sense of self, community and world, due to that new understanding of natural-spiritual separation, which might be at the root of some of our problems today?

  • Why does your personal sense of joy and peace when you decide that doubts about your religion are mere tests of your faith, and that god transcends human understanding, validate your views and subsequent actions?

When I have some time in a week or two Ill write up the way the discussions normally go, and then the references I can recommend to help people follow up on the issues raised. Usually the questions do require a lot of explanation of the history of spiritualities, the development of religion, and Western notions of concepts and words.. and then alternatives that are as enriching, empowering and socially positive, as a feeling of being loved by “God”.

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Posted in My Life, Spirit? | 4 Comments »

These are Financial Times for Sustainable Luxury

Posted by jembendell on June 15, 2008

I just participated in a panel with Marco Bevolo from Philips Design and Timothy Han from the company that bares his name. We discussed whether luxury can be sustainable at the Net Impact conference in Europe. Marco and Timothy captivated the audience with their enthusiasm for how high end design can inspire new levels of product and service sustainability and responsibility. Marco’s book will be interesting (www.futurehighend.com). If you havent seen Timothy Hans products yet, then have a look at http://www.timothyhan.com

The day after the Financial Times quoted us both on the question of sustainable luxury. It links to the professional network I launched on this issue, www.authenticluxury.net

So, we are getting there. Next stop is a talk the International Luxury Business Association next week, and a keynote at the IHT luxury conference in India.

Posted in ALN, Corporations, Media, Sustainable Development, Talks | 2 Comments »